|Publicity still of low-budget film legend Ed Wood|
When it comes to pop culture and things that are cool, Orange County
is a lot like an oyster: you have to put some effort into finding the pearls. I stumbled across a nifty little nugget of local cultural relevance one day while scanning the celebrity directory at findadeath.com
, which meticulously chronicles the final minutes of Hollywood royalty, (in the case of Stan Laurel
, his final breaths). Let it be known, the site comes highly recommended for you morbid types by this Feral blogger.
I was checking out the profile of 1950's B-movie director Ed Wood, which features a scanned copy of his death certificate. Wood first became famous for his horrible science fiction and sexploitation films, which he directed in the 1950s and '60s. He was introduced to a new generation of cinephiles in 1994 when director Tim Burton cast Johnny Depp to portray Wood as a cross-dressing eccentric.
|Johnny Depp in still from Tim Burton's 1994 bio pic of filmaker Ed Wood|
According to the death certificate posted on the findadeath site, the director behind such stinkers as Plan 9 From Outer Space
and Orgy of the Dead,
died of a heart attack in the apartment he shared with his wife in North Hollywood
on December 10, 1978. His body was handed over to Utter Mckinley
mortuary in Van Nuys
, which provided his undertaking services.
But bearing an address far from the glamour of Tinseltown, the death certificate also featured a familiar OC address in one of its official boxes---that of Memory Garden Memorial Park and Mortuary in Brea. At this location, Wood was placed in an industrial-sized furnace and cremated. A quick phone call to the Brea body depository, not known for its rotting glitterati, confirmed that that they do indeed perform cremations, and that Utter McKinley in Van Nuys is a sister mortuary.
|Memory Garden Memorial Park and Mortuary in Brea|
Now rabid OC cinephiles have a new fun fact to ponder--it's possible Wood left something behind following his brief visit.
Take a spin past the cookie-cutter houses on Site Drive and consider that the blades of grass on those neatly-manicured lawns may have been fertilized by some of Wood's ashes as they trickled from the sky.